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What You Pay For

100 Soho pedestrians surveyed on whether information— and entertainment—wants to be free.


Where do you get most of your news?
Physical newspapers: 27
Online newspapers: 26
NPR: 9
Online blogs/aggregators: 5
Other radio: 4
“The streets, my man … I just keep my ear to the streets”: 4
The Daily Show/Colbert Report : 2

Do you subscribe to the Times?
Yes: 13
No: 79
Just the weekend edition: 8

Do you think charging for will make the paper :
More successful: 31
Less successful: 65

How much would you pay for the ‘Times’ online?
$2 a day (same as the print version): 23
$100 a year: 10
$250 a year: 1
Nothing: 63

How much do you spend a year buying music online?
Nothing: 35
$0–$50: 34
$50–$100: 15
$100–$250: 10
$250+: 6

How much on physical CDs?
Nothing: 41
$0–$50: 35
$50–$100: 13
$100–$250: 4
$250+: 5
I only buy blank CDs to burn with illegally downloaded music: 2

How much of your music do you pay for?
All of it: 34
I pay for it unless it’s easy to find online: 28
I pay for it only if I can’t find it online: 22
I download it all illegally on principle 11

If you own a DVR, do you skip through commercials?
Always: 22
Never: 9
Usually, but sometimes I forget and feel like an idiot for having sat there for 30 seconds watching terrible commercials for absolutely no reason: 18

Do you like any commercials so much that you sit and watch them?
Yes: 44
No: 49
“Geico.” “” “Heineken with the men and women’s closets.” “Sonic.” “The Bridgestone tire screaming squirrel.”
“I always watch the Snuggie ads.”

Do you watch TV online?
Sometimes: 43
Never: 41
I only watch shows online: 8

Do you download pirated TV shows using torrents?
All the time: 7
Never: 5
Only if I missed it on TV: 38
What the hell is a torrent?: 12

How much do you spend a year on books?
Don’t buy books: 10
$0–$50: 22
$50–$100: 30
$100–$250: 18
$250+: 19

Do you have an e-reader like the Kindle or the Nook?
Yes: 10
No: 90

Would you download pirated copies of books if they were available?
Yes: 27
No: 68

On a scale of 1 (least intrusive) to 5 (most intrusive), how irritating are ads:
On posters at street level AVG.: 2.16
On billboards AVG.: 2.35
On TV AVG.: 3.13
On the radio AVG. 3.64
Before online videos AVG.: 3.26
Online AVG.: 3.46
Beamed directly into your brain by robots AVG.: 3.51

Which of the following nominally free things would you pay for if that was the only way to get them?
Subway musicians: 14
Radio programming: 24
Sex: 38
The right to vote: 39
Network television: 43
Public bathrooms: 43
The love of parents and family: 44
Air: 55
Drinking water: 60
Copies of The Onion: 90

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